“It is safe to predict that Judy Garland will win next year’s Academy Award.” – Columnist Bob Thomas, 1954
June 5, 1937: The short that Judy and Deanna Durbin made in 1936, Every Sunday, was already a legend when this short blurb appeared. As you can see in the ad for MGM’s Parnell, the short was still being shown and was advertised with almost as much fanfare as the feature films it was shown with. The short was played in random theaters and was promoted as being either a Judy Garland film or a Deanna Durbin film, or both, due to the incredible popularity of both girls.
Also on June 5, 1937: Harold Heffernan reported in his column that Freddie Bartholomew’s Aunt Cissy (who was in charge of his career) wouldn’t let MGM arrange a romance between Freddie and Judy. This might be true, although the two were seen, and filmed, attending the premiere of MGM’s Marie Antoinette together on what looked like a date although there was no romance between the two of them. Decades later when he was interviewed for When The Lion Roars in 1992, Freddie told the story of his romance with Judy in which he jokes that their “love” one-sided on his part. He sure seemed like a nice guy.
June 5, 1938: Hedda Hopper reported on Judy’s recent car accident (May 24, 1938) by relaying the story of the cast of Love Finds Andy Hardy going to the hospital to cheer up Judy and to give her a new dog. The only problem is that Judy’s accident did not require an extended stay in the hospital long enough to corral the cast of the film and the purchase of a dog. But then, there is the story that also circulated in papers at this same time that Judy was training her deaf poodle with vibrations. At least Judy’s name was in the papers…
June 5, 1939: Harold Heffernan reported that Judy did not like performing live on stage but that she also said: “Maybe later, I’ll get another yen to appear on the stage, but it won’t be soon.” We sure know who that turned out!
On this day at the studio, Judy was in the middle of filming Babes in Arms however the assistant director’s notes state that Judy was in school and did not film.
June 5, 1940: This notice about Judy recording more songs for Andy Hardy Meets Debutante was published at the same time as this photo of Andy Hardy (Mickey Rooney) and his sweethearts (Diana Lewis, Ann Rutherford, Judy) along with the amusing reference to Mormon leader Brigham Young and polygamy. The film wasn’t released until July 1940 and Judy had already prerecorded both “Alone” and “All I Do Is Dream Of You” on May 10th. “All I Do Is Dream Of You” was cut from the film before its release. Judy was working on these two songs, and the corresponding film, while also working on Strike Up The Band (see below).
On this day Judy was busy filming scenes for Strike Up The Band on the “Country Club”, “Anteroom”, and “Bedroom” sets. Time called: 2:30 p.m.; dismissed: 10 p.m. The “Bedroom” set might have been the set on which Mickey Rooney and William Tracy filmed a scene (without Judy) or it could have been “Willie’s” bedroom set and the scene in which Judy and Mickey visit “Willie” (Larry Nunn).
June 5, 1941: The 17th Infantry at Fort Ord, Monterey, California, named Judy as the “Sweetheart of the Army.” Later in the year, on that fateful December 7, 1941, Judy was appearing at the fort when the news came in that Pearl Harbor had been bombed. Prior to the news, Company H at Fort Ord made Judy an Honorary Corporal of the Company and pinned corporal stripes on each sleeve of her sweater while giving her a corporal’s warrant and presenting her with a pair of identification tags.
June 5, 1945: Principal photography was completed on The Harvey Girls on June 4 but that didn’t mean Judy’s work was done. She had an afternoon of “loops” which was the overdubbing/post-dubbing of dialogue for scenes in the film in which the audio was compromised. Time called: 1:30 p.m.; dismissed: 5 p.m.
June 5, 1954: Columnist Bob Thomas wrote this article predicting that Judy was a lock for the Best Actress Oscar in 1955 for A Star Is Born. His words are indicative of the general feelings and opinions in Hollywood that Judy would win the Oscar justly capping off the comeback trail that started in 1951. To say that Judy’s loss was one of the greatest upsets in Oscar history is an understatement.
Oscar for Judy?
Even Tho Her Latest Move, ‘A Star Is Born,’ Isn’t Finished, She May Be in Line for Prize
by Bob Thomas
HOLLYWOOD – (AP) – Even tho the Oscar derby is not even half over, it is safe to predict that Judy Garland will win next year’s Academy Award.
Does that seem rash? You would certainly think so. Most of the top contenders haven’t been seen yet, including “A Star Is Born.” But such are the mechanics of Academy Awards that Miss Garland is virtually a lead pipe cinch.
I reason this way: Four million dollars has been spent to showcase her talents. Her husband, Sid Luft, is the producer. The director, George Cukor, is noted for wringing peak performances from actresses. The role, engagingly played by Janet Gaynor in the first version, is a tour de force. Miss Garland will undoubtedly be good, perhaps great.
Strong Sympathy Vote
And you can’t beat the sympathy vote. The Garland comeback, after her personal and career troubles, is a sure ballot draw.
The Oscar, if it comes, will climax one of the strangest fil projects in many years. Before his marriage to Miss Garland, Luft’s previous claim to fame concerned various fistic encounters on the Sunset Strip and a stormy divorce from Lynn Bari. His previous experience had been producing quickies at Monogram and his own film on the life of Man O’War.
Hollywood watched in wonderment as the bill mounted for Warner Brothers, which had previously fired large numbers of its staff and undergone other economy measures. The shooting lasted longer than any film in years and isn’t over yet. Remaining to be shot is a big production number, reported to cost $100,000.
The film was troubled from the start. Casting of the Fredric March part posed a problem. Among those mentioned: Henry Fonda, Stewart Granger, William Powell, Robert Young, Humphrey Bogart, Vic Mature. The assignment of James Mason caused a large letdown in some quarters.
The set was open to the press for a few days during the long shooting. But most of the time it was closed tight. There were reports that the film had five cameramen in succession and that Miss Garland tiffed with wardrobe designers and vocal arranger Hugh Martin.
Concerning the Martin squabble, Miss Garland said: “Hugh thought I sang loud. I don’t that little movie voice any more since I’ve been on the stage. So he just up and quit.”
Didn’t Show Up
There was another report that on one day the cast and crew were ready on the set but Judy didn’t show up. Concerning the long schedule, Director Cukor said that Judy was giving a splendid performance and was unable to sustain it for more than a few hours a day. But he said the added expense was worth it.
Studio Boss J.L. Warner happened to make a speech before an industry dinner during the film. He said in part: “The sometime actor, the odd-moment writer and some directors can – and sadly do – throw roadblocks in the path of production. If the creative talent of our industry does not choose to work, it keeps all craftsmen on the lot from working.”
“A Star Is Born” has given Hollywood much to talk about in the past year. And the town will still be talking next March when, I predict, Judy receives an Oscar, just as she does in the picture.
Also on June 5, 1954: A Star Is Born’s director, George Cukor, filled in for columnist Dorothy Kilgallen and provided the text for her column. It’s the first time his oft-told story about Judy’s quip to him after the filming of the dressing room scene, “That’s nothing, I do this at home every afternoon” was told to the public. Cukor conflates that scene with the Oscars-slap scene. But that’s ok, he was the director and it was his story to tell.
(Dorothy Kilgallen is on vacation. Her guest columnist today is the famous Hollywood director, George Cukor).
George Cukor Writes
I have seen many girls suffer for their art, but none quite as much as Judy Garland. In one scene of “A Star Is Born,” Judy had to become slightly hysterical, a feat she manages with great skill.
When I complimented her on her volcanic emotional outburst, which registered so well that I was able to tell the technicians to print the first take, thereby short-circuiting a week or more of anticipated shooting, Miss Garland said with her usual self-deprecating humor: “That’s nothing, I do this at home every afternoon.”
AFTER THE hysteria, the man in the scene with her, James Mason, was required to slap her face.
Naturally, he was reluctant to slap very hard. Miss Garland said she didn’t feel a thing, so I suggested a harder slap. “I’ll roll with the slap,” Miss Garland said, “don’t be afraid to hit hard.”
Mason complied with the suggestion and struck her resoundingly with his open palm. But it would still look unconvincing to a motion picture audience. I asked for another take, and still another.
EACH TIME, I would ask Miss Garland whether she was hurt or not and each time she reassured me that she couldn’t feel a thing. So we kept on doggedly, each slap harder than the last, all afternoon, until, finally, we got the slap that would look and sound like a real, hard blow on film
Miss Garland departed after her day’s labor, as blithe and spirited as ever, showing no effects of her ordeal. But the next day she came to the set with a face that was a mass of black and blue marks from jawline to temple. The slaps that she “didn’t feel” had done this to her.
“Good Lord,” said her husband (and producer), Sid Luft, “what have you been doing to the girl? Now everybody will say I’ve been beating her!”
June 5, 1957: The last night of Judy’s one-week engagement at The Riviera Theatre in Detroit, Michigan. Judy performed the last three nights, beginning on June 3rd, from a chair after having sprained her ankle. In spite of rumors to the contrary over the years, Judy did everything she could to come through for her audiences.
Photo above right: Judy waves goodbye to the crowd after one of her Detroit performances (exact night is unknown).
June 5, 1964: Judy’s ordeal in Hong Kong was coming to an end. She returned to the Catholic Canossa hospital for x-rays, and told the press she would be leaving Hong Kong “in about ten days,” and taking “an ocean voyage. I want to travel all over the world.” Judy actually stayed in Hong Kong until mid-June when she and Mark Herron boarded the President Roosevelt ocean liner bound for Tokyo, Japan.
June 5, 1967: Judy and her companion Tom Green were rumored to be engaged. Judy came very close to marrying Green. Judy and Green had an on again, off again romance that went sour in 1968 when she had him arrested for allegedly stealing two valuable rings. The charges were dropped. Decades later, when Green was interviewed for Gerald Clarke’s biography about Judy, he apparently lied about a sexual encounter in order to “hurt [Judy’s daugher] Lorna” after she had written negative things about him in her book “Me And My Shadows – A Family Memoir.” The late author Steve Sanders wrote about it in the “Judy List” discussion form in 2000:
While I haven’t yet had the ‘pleasure’ of reading the Clarke book, I am aware of a certain passage in which Tom Green apparently (and vividly) describes a scene of a sexual nature taking place under a table at a restaurant in Santa Monica. Sid was so [disturbed] at this (and much else in the book) that he phoned Tom Green yesterday. While it doesn’t make much sense to me, Tom told Sid that the incident, in fact, did not happen. Tom said the only reason he told/fabricated the story was to ‘hurt Lorna’ for writing about him so negatively in her book. He wanted to ‘get back’ at Lorna. (I don’t think he told Sid what was written was false, however….)
To me, the telling of the story may well hurt Lorna but it seems to hurt Judy far more. Whether Tom felt on the spot with Sid and disavowed the story even if it were true because of being concerned, if the story is indeed false, it seemed to be worth noting here. (Also, Sid was not interviewed by Clarke for the book, despite reports to the contrary. He met with Clarke to fish him out, told him, ‘I don’t give interviews’ and promptly ended the lunch.)